Metaphors and similes are an imaginative galaxy which greater minds than mine have explored. That doesn’t stop me gathering dazzling and original examples to enliven human exchange, expanding the choice of vigorous, beautiful ways to sharpen how we think, read, write and speak.

Petrified sea

Petrified sea

A fine image of mountains appearing like rearing waves petrified in mid air. ... the mountains that rear above the Valley of the Kings like startled waves.  Source: Justin Marozzi, The Man Who Invented History: Travels with Herodotus (London: John Murray, 2009), p....

The Nile as sapphire

The Nile as sapphire

A fortuitous phrase to describe the Nile's blue tracery through a dry landscape, like a life-giving vein.... the sapphire cleft of the Nile. Source: Justin Marozzi, The Man Who Invented History: Travels with Herodotus (London: John Murray, 2009), p. 26Photo credit:...

Bright as …

Bright as …

This simile brought to mind an image of a magnesium flare, and reminded me of others I've shared here on brightness and related qualities, such as George Eliot's description of a sizzlingly active mind; Virginia Woolf on a pair of bright eyes; Patrick Leigh Fermor on...

The quick forge of thought

The quick forge of thought

Marvelous metaphor by Shakespeare, suggesting (to me) that the foment and energy of a city like London forges thought among its people. Something taut and elemental here, with the din and heat of a blacksmiths workshop echoing the noise and bustle of a great...

History as burp

History as burp

Possibly the best metaphor I have found for the tendency of history to resurface in surprising ways.  I see this as all the more reason to study it, to give us some time-deep context with which to better navigate the uncertain waters called 'life'. And not be...

Sea the colour

Sea the colour

I love different ways of describing eyes, and colours, and this one allows some range in its definition.  Blue or grey or green, or somewhere on that spectrum? 'Eyes the colour of the North Sea in February...'For further eye colour quotes, meet other sea-related eyes,...

Someday the history of metaphor will be written and we shall at last grasp all the truths and misconceptions in which this intensely speculative subject abounds.  

Source: Jorge Luis Borges, On Writing, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2010, p. 45

Like frost and flowers

An alternative alliteration for describing people as being like chalk and cheese.  Feel free to use it to inject some variety into your phrasing.

'Him and th’ old Squire fit...

Ice like …

A limpid description of bright, icy water, distillation of winter.

'In the center of large ponds, beneath the surface of the water, gleam cores of aquamarine ice, like the constricted...

Shields like clinkered hulls

A marvelous description of the helots’ tightly held, flexible and impregnable shield wall, like the scales of a fish, or here, as the strakes of a ship’s hull, hermetically sealed...

The chill of indifference

Philip is a sensitive and admirable character in George Eliot's classic novel, who devotedly loves Maggie Tulliver.  He is hampered by disability and feels indifference acutely, here likened to a...

Community as lake

Something in this metaphor suggests a community which has great resilience and a certain timelessness, although it could also imply a place that doesn’t change either for better or worse...

Swimming in circles

A fine simile for a wife who after a good stretch of marriage, still presses all the wrong buttons with regards her husband; here she is likened to a gold-fish...

Thinking

Apt use of the kiln as a metaphor to describe the thought process of the man who first created porcelain in Britain.

‘I realize that William’s way of moving through ideas...

Sweet-running river

Flowing like the sweet-running river it evokes, a meandering metaphor for Hector's strength and movement, likened to a thoroughbred horse breaking free and seeking out its remembered watering spots and...

Wide as the wind

Another pithy metaphor that deserves to enter daily use: 'as wide as the wind'.  So, let me wish you this: may your sway be as wide as the wind's home,...

Great grassy hills

A beautiful description of a large-hearted calming character, who has a benign influence on those around him. We need more Cadwalladers around, quieting 'irritated egoism' and making it even a...

How many lifetimes does it take to learn the facts of life?  

(And how long do you have to live to recover from them…?) 

Is it fact that helps us recover – or is it metaphor?  

Source: Molly Peacock,The Paper Garden (London: Bloomsbury, 2012), p. 63 – click here for the bestellar review of this glorious book.

The thinker, with his metaphors, will illuminate the external world through intangible ideas that for him are intimate and immediate.   

Source: Jorge Luis Borges, On Writing, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2010, p. 6

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Love writingredux.com?  Enjoy our sister sites:

www.foolsareeverywhere.com    I    www.nuannaarpoq.com

 

© Beatrice Otto 2020 - design & content unless otherwise stated - all rights reserved

 

Pin It on Pinterest